Detained again: Foreign-registered tanker caught anchoring illegally a second time in Johor waters

KOTA TINGGI: A tanker registered in Saint Kitts and Nevis has been detained for anchoring illegally in Tanjung Penawar here – the second time the vessel has committed such an offence.

Johor Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director First Admiral Nurul Hizam Zakaria said a patrol unit spotted the ship some 10.5 nautical miles north-east off Tanjung Penawar at around 2pm Saturday (July 3).

He said that MMEA records showed that the ship from the eastern Caribbean nation was previously detained on Dec 20, 2020 and the operator was slapped with a RM50,000 fine for illegal anchoring.

"In the latest incident, there were 10 crew members from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar on board. They all possessed valid travel documents.

"However, the ship's captain was unable to produce the necessary permits for the ship to anchor in Malaysian waters.

"We detained the ship for the second time within a year for investigations under Section 49B(1)(l) of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952," he said.

He added that if convicted, the ship's operator could be fined not more than RM100,000 or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.

Nurul Hizam said the latest detainment showed that there are still stubborn vessel operators who refuse to abide by the law.

He urged those with information about illegal activities or emergencies at sea to contact the Johor Maritime Operations Centre hotline at 07-219 9404.

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